Sometimes, life throws a curveball at you and no matter how hard you’ve prepared yourself or trained to toughen up on the outside, certain events tend to change everything that you once knew about yourself. In moments like these, we can’t help but feel completely helpless and depressed. Just like us, there are times when the biggest sorrows of life catch up with our favorite anime characters and they are left heartbroken and devastated.
We’ve hunted down some of these anime boys who are forced to live a life that is existentially depressing and bleak. But despite all the odds being against them, these boys somehow find a way to get back up again and move on with life in the hope that things will eventually get better. So, here’s the list of the best depressed anime boys of all time:
5. Takashi Natsume (Natsume’s Book of Friends)
“Sad memories are a part of what makes me who I am.”- Takashi Natsume
Takashi has never been able to live an easy life. Since childhood, he has had the ability to see spirits but because every one of his relatives found this strange, as an orphan, he was forced to move from one place to another. Growing up with people who absolutely despise him completely transforms him as a person and he grows up to build a shell around him. He wants to be accepted by his family members and he also wishes to make new friends but when he fails to do so, he develops this cold demeanor that helps him deal with his loneliness.
However, things do get better for him when he discovers his grandmother’s “Book of Friends”. Along with Madara, a powerful spirit trapped in a “Maneki meko” body, he sets out on a journey to free all the spirits in his grandmother’s diary. This not only helps him make new friends but also teaches him valuable life lessons. With time, as he gives the spirits their names back, he also learns to open up to people and spirits by empathizing with them, In the end, he realizes that a part of his parents will always be with him and he cannot change the fact that he’s an orphan; but he can still choose to live a happier life by moving forward and never looking back at his sorrows again.
4. Shinichi Izumi (Parasyte -the maxim-)
“I can’t cry anymore. I feel like I’ve lost something. An important part of being human.” – Shinichi Izumi
Shinichi Izumi (Parasyte -the maxim-) seems to have the life of an ordinary high school teenager until one day, a parasite enters his body and takes over his right hand. This leads to a weird collaboration between him and the parasite where both of them try to have equal control over his body. Though he still struggles to deal with this weird creature who has taken over a part of his body, Shinichi tries to be positive about what lies ahead. He even uses this to his advantage by fighting other parasites who are trying to take over the world.
His parents leave for a vacation one day and that’s when his life takes a grim turn. He receives a strange call from his father who tells him that his mother has been taken over by a parasyte. When she arrives home, his parasyte, Migi, warns him that it’s not her but it’s Shinichi who feels paralyzed by the brutal reality of the situation. His own mother tries to kill him but that’s when Migi comes to his rescue and kills his mother. This traumatic situation leaves a deep impact on Shinichi’s life and to somehow make up for all of this, he tries his best to be the much-needed hero for the world. Although he takes all of his defeats as a motivation to act brave and protect the world, he is never really able to completely get over the tragedy that he faced earlier.
3. Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
“I still don’t know where to find happiness. But I’ll continue to think about whether it’s good to be here… whether it was good to have been born. But in the end, it’s just realizing the obvious over and over again. Because I am myself.” – Shinji Ikari
In a post-apocalyptic anime where humanity is on the brink of extinction, you can surely expect a lot of depressed characters. One of them is, of course, our main protagonist Shinji Ikari. Shinji seems to have a very simple and boring life until one day, he is forced to join the Nerv. The Nerv is basically an organization that has designed giant robots called Evangelions. These robots are capable of killing Angels who are slowly taking over the world. Shinji proves to be a promising pilot of these robots and is expected to face the dark creatures at a very young age. Things get worse when he arrives at the association and gets to face his father who had abandoned him as a child. Even after all these years, his father shows absolutely no emotions towards him, making Shinji realize that he is indeed the undesirable child. This fear of abandonment has had a deep impact on his life as it has always stopped him from creating deep bonds with people. Shinji is scared that if he ends up getting attached to someone, he will again end up losing them just like he lost his own father.
Later, however, Shinji does take a leap of faith and decides to befriend Kaworu Nagisa. But even this does not end too well for him as he realizes that Kaworu is actually an angel and has been using him all this while. When his only best friend, Toji Suzuhara, is later taken over by an angel, he is left with no other option but to kill him himself. Though Shinji had always been an introverted person because of his troubled past, it’s these events that further destroy him. In the end, he realizes that he is doomed by his own insecurities and though his father does not care if he lives or dies, he still seeks nothing else but his approval.
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2. Tomoya Okazaki (Clannad After Story)
“If you feel like crying you should not hold back your tears. You should let it all out while you still can because when you get bigger, sometimes, you can’t cry even if you have something to cry about.” – Tomoya Okazaki
Tomoya Okazaki somehow stays strong after losing his wife, Nagisa, to a fatal disease. He does so because now the responsibility of raising his young daughter completely rests on him. But even after going through so much, tragedy comes knocking on his door again when his daughter is diagnosed with the same strange disease as his wife. For a moment, his whole world starts to fall apart but he still keeps himself strong for his daughter. Somewhere deep down he hopes that he will be able to save her. But her condition just gets worse by the day and he is gradually forced to believe that she is heading towards the same fate as his wife.
He sits by the window one day and stares out at the snow-filled wasteland that was once a paradise for him. That’s when his daughter, Ushio, tells him that she wants to go on a trip. Although reluctant at first, he is not able to say no to her and eventually agrees to take her out for a walk. And as they start walking slowly into a snow-ridden white landscape, Ushio’s steps get heavier and heavier. Tomoya tries to stop her from walking but she keeps going until she collapses in his arms and dies. There is a limit to the amount of suffering a man can take before it completely breaks him. For Tomoya, this limit is reached when his own daughter dies in his arms. In the end, he even starts questioning if things would have been much better if he had never met Nagisa. While the answer to that remains a mystery, as viewers, we can only hope that the saying “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” will hold true for him.
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1. Eren Yeager (Attack on Titan)
“I don’t have time to worry if it’s right or wrong, you can’t hope for a horror story with a happy ending!” – Eren Yeager
The ending of ‘Attack on Titan’ Season 3 shows you how messed up Eren Yeager is on the inside. Eren has never had a peaceful life. At a very sensitive young age, his own home was destroyed and his mother was eaten by the Titans right before his eyes. But instead of crumbling into the confinements of the giant walls that surround his civilization, he chose to fight back and seek freedom. And though this hunger for freedom has driven him to reach a point where he has, on numerous occasions, saved his people from the Titans, all of it does not even matter in the end.
Eren once had the heroic traits of some of the greatest shounen heroes like Goku and Naruto which made him believe that not giving up will eventually pay off. However, he soon realizes that he lives in a world where he must give up on his own humanity to attain freedom. If he does somehow achieve the freedom that he seeks after giving up on everything that he values, will he consider himself successful? Will he be truly happy?
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